First in our evolutionary lineage to have a nose that began to resemble a modern human nose was Homo erectus (image below on left). Before this type of homo came along was Homo rudolfensis (image below on right), in which the nose shape was drastically different. H. rudolfensis is known for having a flatter face, but with H. rudolfensis the hominid diet changed. Before H. rudolfensis came along the diet consisted of seeds, plants, and roots, but with the rise of this new hominid came a new diet consisting of plants and meat. It was because of the “meat” part of the diet did H. erectus develop a less ape-like nose and a more human like nose.
I know it all seems to come together for why our noses are as they are. We could always stop here and thank our bipedal form of locomotion to our noses, but we can not. There is another out-of-body factor that is necessary for this type of evolution, and it still plays a huge part in modern noses. This factor is humidity. When there is humidity in the air is also moisture, and, as I stated earlier, our noses and moisture work together. What this means is in environments where it is hot and wet, our bodies sweat, but our noses also have to adapt, like our skin colour. “...the nose could respond to that pressure and, over time, evolve into having a wider shape, which allows for more heat loss and may help keep the brain cool...” This does make sense when we look at different people coming from different types of places. In comparing someone of European ancestry with someone of African ancestry, besides the different skin colour, the thing that jumps out is the shape of the nose.
This has been a learning experience if not only for you, but me as well. Who would have thought how big a part our noses play in keeping us cool. But the nose does so much for us that we do not realize. For example, taste. Sure the tongue helps us with that, but the noses sense of smell is what keeps us tasting. It has been theorized when were still hunting that our noses helped us smell out our prey, but once we began to domesticate animals, that ability slowly went away. Nevertheless, let us hope our noses do not stop what it is doing to keep us cool. The nose...the personal air conditioner.
Please feel free to comment on what you thought of this fun fact, or other physical anthropological subjects you would like me to cover.